Thursday, November 23, 2017

Important Questions On Our Modern Culture

I recommend checking out this video which takes a look at Hollywood and the modern music industry. Have we been brainwashed into accepting evil through the gradual degradation of society? Have we even as traditional Catholics also bought into the modernist notion of abandoning the moral taboos of our forefathers? If we think hard on it, we may not like the answer.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Proper View of the Crusades

We have all heard it before, the attacks leveled against the Catholic Church and the crusades. Here is a proper response for those hecklers. Looking at the damage being done by Islam now in western society, it may be a good time to reflect on the past. 

1. We might refrain from treating this question of the Crusades. [1] We have only to read an impartial history to find the justification of these warlike expeditions which exhibit Christian society in all the splendor of religious heroism. Let us observe, however, that the end or motive of the Crusades was perfectly just, and that, so far from having the disastrous effects sometimes attributed to them, they were productive of the happiest results. 
A. The Crusades had an end which was just, generous, and civilizing. Mohammed had inspired his followers with the ardor of proselytizing by the sword. Their fanaticism had conquered Spain and, though arrested by the valiant sword of Charles Martel, meditated the conquest of the East and the destruction of civilization. The Emperors of Constantinople appealed to the Christians of the East to protect the last bulwark of Europe, and the Church added her exhortation to this pressing appeal. After Sylvester II and Sergius IV had made a generous appeal in behalf of the Christians of the Holy Land, St. Gregory VII wrote to the Emperor in 1074: "The Christians beyond the sea who are suffering unheard-of outrages, and are daily massacred like sheep, have sent to me in their great need, beseeching me to help our brethren by every means in my power in order that the Christian religion may not, God forbid, be completely annihilated in our time." 
In answering the appeal made by Urban II and Peter the Hermit in the Council of Clermont (1095) the Christian princes felt confident they were obeying the will of God. Hitherto they had only defended themselves; now they decided to carry the war into the heart of Islamism, which it was their right and their duty to do, for all the religious and social rights of European nations were threatened by the Mohammedans. Was Europe to await quietly the shame and scourge of slavery; was every Christian nation to allow itself to be oppressed, instead of forming with all the others a holy league against the enemies of the Cross? "When we blame these enterprises," says the learned de Guignes in the Memoires de l'Academie des inscriptions et des belles-lettres  (t. lxviii.), "it is because we have not sufficiently reflected upon the state of the times. The Mussulmans had taken possession of Syria, and had made themselves masters of Africa, of Spain, and of all the islands of the Mediterranean, whence they continually insulted the inhabitants on the shores of Italy. Through Spain and Corsica they entered and ravaged the southern provinces, and pillaged all the vessels they encountered. Constantinople was a powerful barrier to them; should they succeed in their attempt against it, all Europe would be endangered and run the risk of falling into their power. Attacking them in the centre of their empire would reduce their strength and deal them a blow from which they could never recover." 
B. The Crusades, it is true, did not completely accomplish the end for which they were undertaken, but we may say with Count de Maistre, "Though each one failed, yet all succeeded."  To judge these vast enterprises we must take them as a whole, without stopping at the abuses and faults which are the result of human passions, and which are to be found in all wars. Mgr. Pie, in the panegyric on St. Louis, enumerates among the happy results of the Crusades:  1st. The Moslem conquest of Constantinople and the subjugation of the East retarded four hundred years. 
2d. The saving of the West and of Christian civilization from the brutalizing rule of Islamism. The Ottoman power, which for centuries threatened to swallow up everything, was so weakened and received such a mortal blow that it continued to exist only through the indulgence of Christianity.

3d. The people of Europe were delivered from the evils which they brought upon themselves by the dissension and incessant wars of prince with prince, lord with lord, city with city. The passion for combats with which the knights were filled found noble vent: ceasing to fight among themselves, Christian warriors united their efforts against the common enemy. 
4th. The condition of the people was improved; serfs and vassals were freed by thousands; the commons acquired rights and privileges which curbed the arbitrary and tyrannical power of the lords. 
5th. Agriculture, science, and the arts also reaped great advantages. Who does not know that these expeditions paved the way for the beautiful age of Leo X and Louis XIV?
6th. They were likewise productive of much spiritual good. "Can the Christian," exclaims Mgr. Pie, "confine his gaze to the present and forget the grand horizon which opens beyond the tomb? Ah! what matters it to me, a man of the next life, what matters it to me that the Crusades are judged wrong according to the cold and tardy computations of our modern calculators, when the holy Abbot of Clairvaux assures me that he learned from Heaven that this employment of the mammon of iniquity secured to thousands of Frenchmen the imperishable treasures of supreme beatitude?
The losses of the terrestrial country were soon forgotten, and the heavenly country was enriched forever. Men of time, you speak to me of numbers; and I, a priest of eternity, I know but one number which interests me and which is worthy of my attention, the eternal number of the elect."  All these advantages largely compensated for the checks which the Crusaders suffered in consequence of dissensions and rivalries among themselves and the perfidy of the Greeks. 
Fr. W. Devivier, SJ
Edited by Bishop S.G. Messmer, DD, DCL
Bishop of Green Bay, Wisc.
Imprimatur, 1903

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Council of Trent: Original Sin

This will be the first in a series of posts that I will make concerning the Church's dogmatic teachings from the Council of Trent. As I have stated before, Trent is the Council that we should be most concerned with today in the Church since it specifically binds us in its doctrinal definitions contained in its decrees and canons. The definitions of Trent in its decrees and canons are binding on all Catholics, and those who would obstinately oppose its doctrinal definitions would be guilty of heresy. One who opposes defined doctrine cannot be pleasing to God. "That our Catholic faith, without which it is impossible to please God, may, errors being purged away, continue in its own perfect and spotless integrity, and that the Christian people may not be carried about with every wind of doctrine."

Trent gave its formal decree on the doctrine of 'Original Sin' in its fifth session. The doctrine of original sin is important for any Catholic to understand. If we get it wrong it severely cripples one's understanding of man, his relationship to God and the need for a divine savior. Man's fallen nature separates him from God's friendship. This reality is founded upon a historical reality revealed to us by God in Sacred Scripture, through Christ's one and only Church. Among other things, the book of Genesis gives us an historical account of God's creation narratives and the fall of Adam, which accounts for the sinful state of mankind.

The Council of Trent held between 1545 and 1563 was called to primarily address the heretical teachings of the pretended "Reformers." Few central doctrines were left untouched by the heretics. As we know one error often leads to many others. This is the reason that the council fathers at Trent had to deal with so many of the Church's core teachings. They did this with great study and deliberation. There has been no council in which so much time in study and deliberation on these core teachings took place in the history of the Church. There are some fundamental truths that we must adhere to have a firm grasp on this doctrine. The council fathers determined five definitions that would make up the decree concerning this doctrine. They are listed below in block quotations. Notice that each definition is sealed with an anathema, meaning that one would sever or cut oneself off from the unity of faith by denying the definition. If you would like to pull up the text for yourself, you can do so by clicking on this link.

1. The first definition is that the Genesis accounts of Adam and Eve are historical accounts. Although they are not written as a modern historian would write them, they are nonetheless historical accounts of actual events and actual figures. Adam and Eve were historical figures, not myths or names for a group of people representing humanity. Trent defines that sin came through the historical figure of Adam and that specific consequences followed.

If any one does not confess that the first man, Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God in Paradise, immediately lost the holiness and justice wherein he had been constituted; and that he incurred, through the offence of that prevarication, the wrath and indignation of God, and consequently death, with which God had previously threatened him, and, together with death, captivity under his power who thenceforth had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil, and that the entire Adam, through that offence of prevarication, was changed, in body and soul, for the worse; let him be anathema.
This historical event is important because God created Adam in a state of grace. When Adam sinned he lost this grace and incurred a separation from God and inherited death in both body and soul. Secondly it is also true that Adam not only effected himself but the entire human race from which we are all descended. This includes all of the consequences including the death of the soul.
If any one asserts, that the prevarication of Adam injured himself alone, and not his posterity; and that the holiness and justice, received of God, which he lost, he lost for himself alone, and not for us also; or that he, being defiled by the sin of disobedience, has only transfused death, and pains of the body, into the whole human race, but not sin also, which is the death of the soul; let him be anathema:--whereas he contradicts the apostle who says; By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.
  Next Trent gives us the remedy for these deadly consequences, which is the reestablishment of grace, God's friendship, to all mankind through Jesus Christ, alone.
If any one asserts, that this sin of Adam,--which in its origin is one, and being transfused into all by propogation, not by imitation, is in each one as his own, --is taken away either by the powers of human nature, or by any other remedy than the merit of the one mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath reconciled us to God in his own blood, made unto us justice, santification, and redemption; or if he denies that the said merit of Jesus Christ is applied, both to adults and to infants, by the sacrament of baptism rightly administered in the form of the church; let him be anathema: For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved. Whence that voice; Behold the lamb of God behold him who taketh away the sins of the world; and that other; As many as have been baptized, have put on Christ.
Notice that Trent defines the only means given to us by Jesus to establish this reestablishment of grace, which is through Baptism. The council fathers of Trent do not look for any exceptions to the divine command to go and baptize the entire world. The fathers at Trent did not look to accommodate other religions or look for politically correct ways to avoid offending others. They did not begin as many Catholics do today with an exception of invincible ignorance and the mere following of one's conscience in order to obtain salvation. They did not build a theology around an exception as many bankrupt theologians do today. The fathers understood the mandate give by Christ and the severe repercussions of being separated from God's grace and friendship.
If any one denies, that infants, newly born from their mothers' wombs, even though they be sprung from baptized parents, are to be baptized; or says that they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that they derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which has need of being expiated by the laver of regeneration for the obtaining life everlasting,--whence it follows as a consequence, that in them the form of baptism, for the remission of sins, is understood to be not true, but false, --let him be anathema. For that which the apostle has said, By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men in whom all have sinned, is not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere hath always understood it. For, by reason of this rule of faith, from a tradition of the apostles, even infants, who could not as yet commit any sin of themselves, are for this cause truly baptized for the remission of sins, that in them that may be cleansed away by regeneration, which they have contracted by generation. For, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
 Finally Trent finishes its decree concerning this dogma by expounding upon the effects of the Sacrament of Baptism.
If any one denies, that, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted; or even asserts that the whole of that which has the true and proper nature of sin is not taken away; but says that it is only rased, or not imputed; let him be anathema. For, in those who are born again, there is nothing that God hates; because, There is no condemnation to those who are truly buried together with Christ by baptism into death; who walk not according to the flesh, but, putting off the old man, and putting on the new who is created according to God, are made innocent, immaculate, pure, harmless, and beloved of God, heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ; so that there is nothing whatever to retard their entrance into heaven. But this holy synod confesses and is sensible, that in the baptized there remains concupiscence, or an incentive (to sin); which, whereas it is left for our exercise, cannot injure those who consent not, but resist manfully by the grace of Jesus Christ; yea, he who shall have striven lawfully shall be crowned. This concupiscence, which the apostle sometimes calls sin, the holy Synod declares that the Catholic Church has never understood it to be called sin, as being truly and properly sin in those born again, but because it is of sin, and inclines to sin. 
Trent is sure to define the effects of Baptism clearly to combat the errors of the heretical notions of Baptism being only a symbol of one's commitment to Christ, or being merely one's profession of faith. Baptism in effect remits the deadly consequences of original sin, being the loss of original justice due to sin. It is also noted that concupiscence, or the inclination to sin remains, but man can with God's grace overcome it. We also notice here the reality of man's cooperation with God's grace being necessary.

These five definitions in this decree are infallible and indeed need to be believed in order to understand one's relationship with God. Only with this reality in mind do we see the necessity to evangelize those outside the Church. Obviously this decree does not cover every aspect of this teaching, but establishes a firm foundation for which to build upon.

What needs to be understood is that there are serious consequences for denying any of these realities that Trent defines. For example, if one were to deny that Adam was a real person through which mankind lost friendship with God, what would be the necessity of reestablishing it through Christ? How would we explain man's propensity to sin? Mankind would instead stand in no need of a savior. The entire narrative of God's relationship with Israel and all of His covenants He made with His people would be mere fabrications built on sand. There would be no need of the Old Law or its fulfillment in the New through Christ. This decree should be the starting point for understanding the Church's teaching on original sin. This decree may seem elementary to some, but unfortunately there are many in the Church who have never read this decree and have no idea as to its importance. I will cover more of Trent's decrees and canons in upcoming posts.

The eighteenth general Council terminated at Trent, on the 4th of December, 1563, and was confirmed on the 26th of January following, by a Bull of Pius IV. It had been eagerly and urgently called for by the whole Church, but it was held under the most difficult circumstances, and amid innumerable obstacles. (Rev. A. Nampon, SJ)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ten Years of Blogging!

The end of 2017 will be the centennial mark of the Catholic Champion blog. With now over 1140 posts, its been an interesting and often fun venture. The site has taken on different personalities of sorts over the years. The first four years or so the blog was oriented towards apologetics. I engaged in several debates in Protestant circles which allowed me to dig deep into the Catholic faith. Thus the majority of my earlier posts are focused on apologetic topics mostly aimed at combating the errors of Protestantism. After a several years of spirited exchanges with close minded anti-Catholic bigots such as James White, James Swan and an anonymous blogger calling himself  'Turretin Fan' I grew bored and tired of the same old nonsensical attacks and crippled arguments against the Church. Although I did receive some positive emails from Protestants who said they were thinking of converting, I decided to turn the blog in a different direction. The time I was spending in the apologetics realm was simply too draining and I began to realize there was another direction that was more important.

Being an avid reader I began to notice bad theological opinions in many of the newer Catholic books. I soon began to understand the errors of modernism. As I became immersed in the Latin Mass I began to learn about St. Thomas Aquinas. This was in large part to a couple of FSSP priests who were well versed in Thomism. I credit them as being the catalysts that drove me to study Saint Thomas. This opened a huge avenue for me to grow in my faith. As I studied Thomistic theology I began to see clearly the many errors that were being taught in the Church, and where these erroneous ideas were coming from. This prompted me to focus the blog on the traditional teachings of the Church and the reliable Catholic sources that I came across. The blog became a springboard for promoting traditional Thomistic material including books, videos and lectures.

Being a lover of the Dominicans the blog has also incorporated an orientation towards Dominican spirituality. Theology is not something that is an intellectual exercise alone, it must be aimed at deepening our love for God. So I like to throw in posts that give some insight into living the Catholic faith, taken again from time tested traditional sources.

Along the way I have posted about some of my experiences including pilgrimages I have taken. I was also fortunate enough to document the establishment and growth of the FSSP church, Christ the King in Sarasota, Florida. On the side bar you can see a chronology of Christ the King in the photographs I took. I feel privileged to have been a part of that. I still miss going to Mass there.

In ten years of writing I have learned a lot. Some of what I have written I regret the manner in which I wrote it, sometimes lacking charity. Despite my shortcomings, I have always had a desire to know and pass on the truth, and I hope that I have been able to do that successfully in most cases. While this blog is not as popular as others, I am grateful for those who stop by to read and comment. At a minimum I hope to continue in promoting solid Thomistic theological and spiritual material to my readers. Am I celebrating ten years of blogging? Not really, but I am grateful to be able to contribute in some way to this era of the Church, and I pray that it is a positive contribution. I hope to be starting a series on the Council of Trent soon, so stay tuned. May God bless and keep you!

Below are a few of my favorite articles over the years.

Save St. Thomas, Save the Church!

Transformation of a Building, Transformation of the Soul

Christ the King Photobucket

Seven Arrows Against Modernism

Pope Francis and "Immanentizing the Eschaton"

Keeping the Death Penalty Alive

Is the Catholic Church's Teaching on Contraception Infallible?

Ignorance, Conscience and Vatican II

Theology of the Icon

Blueprints Alone I Say!

Satan's Siege!

Invasion of the Soul Snatchers!

"It’s a Wonderful Life", or "Its My Life?"

Razing the Bastions

Our Lady of Good Success

Father James Gillis

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Edward Feser Interview On the Five Ways and Richard Dawkins Part I

Listen to this new interview with one of today's preeminent Thomistic scholars, Edward Feser. If you have not purchased any of his books, I would recommend starting off with these three! Enjoy!

The Last Superstition

By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed

Five Proofs of the Existence of God

Why The Council of Trent is Still the Preeminent Council of the Church

We hear day in and day out ad-nauseum about the Second Vatican Council. Bishops, priests and theologians bore us to tears harping on the same tiresome documents of Vatican II acting as if the Church started with the Second Vatican Council. Any Catholic who has studied the Church's theology and history ought to know that the documents of Vatican II hardly scratch the surface of our faith, and often times are written so poorly that they obscure the faith. The pastoral Council so called by Pope John XXIII himself brought nothing new in terms of theology and made no canonical pronouncements as the Councils before it had done. That is why we must must look back to the documents and Councils before Vatican II if we are to be fully immersed in our faith.

Although it is important to read and understand the First Vatican Council, I would argue that the preeminent Council for our time is still the Council of Trent. Trent is the most important Council the Church has had in over 500 years. The Council defined many dogmas that were under attack by the Protestant heretics. Thus what Trent defined solemnly is to be believed by every faithful Catholic, and nothing that goes against any of its canons or definitions can be accepted as orthodox. Trent defined many of the Church's theological doctrines very specifically including Transubstantiation, Justification, and all of the Sacraments.

This Council is also important for its Thomistic underpinning which its definitions and canons were built upon. Many modern theologians have claimed that the Church has never favored one particular theological "school" but this is a myth. The Church has favored the theological principles of St Thomas Aquinas both formally and informally in papal documents, Catechisms and in its definitions in general Councils. This is true of Trent. Romanus Cessario, OP writes in his recent work ‘The Achievement of Thomas Aquinas and His Interpreters’, “… as the presence of Thomists in influential positions at the Council of Trent suggests, anyone who wanted to exegete the main dogmatic definitions contained in the Decrees of the Council would have had to consult Aquinas, especially his Summa theologiae.”

As we know all of the popes for almost 100 years before the Second Vatican Council warned the Church that if the teaching of Thomas was dispensed with in the seminaries, the Church would fall into ruin. After Vatican II the modernist theologians were given pride of place. They have obscured the clear teachings of Thomas with their theological fantasies based in the modern crippled philosophies of Hegel, Kant, Heidegger and others. If we are to reorient ourselves back to reality and pull our gaze away from the fantasy-land of modernism, we must look back to Trent. Since Trent's definitions are rooted in Thomas, it is a good place to start. The time has come to stop this charade of presenting the few documents of Vatican II as the "be all, end all" expressions of our faith. The Council of Trent and the Catechism of Trent is where you will find the heart of Catholic teaching and it would do the Church well for theologians, priests, bishops and laity to start delving back into its rich presentation of our faith.

The Council of Trent

The Catechism of the Council of Trent

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Edward Pentin on the State of the Vatican Today

If you want an inside view on what is going on in the Church this video is a must watch!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Cardinal Burke Gives Lecture on Modernism, Apostasy and Fatima

Here is the full text of a recent lecture given by Cardinal Burke on the state of the Church today. Burke quotes Aquinas and encyclicals such as  E Supremi, and  Pascendi Dominici Gregis to explain what we are facing today. I am happy to see a prince of the Church turn to the warnings and solutions of the popes prior to Vatican II. 

Apostasy is distinguished from heresy, the other grave sin against the faith. Father Dominic Prümmer, O.P., in his classic manual of moral theology, defines apostasy as the “total defection from the Christian faith formerly willingly received.” Apostasy is the total defection from the Catholic faith, whereas heresy is the denial of one or another article of the faith. Whereas heresy, depending upon the manner in which it is embraced, can lead to apostasy, that is, to the total abandonment of the faith, apostasy, at its root, is a total drawing away from the life of faith.
One thinks, for example, of how the Church has suffered from the persistent heretical doctrines of Modernism, as treated by Pope Saint Pius X in his first Encyclical Letter, E Supremi, of October 4, 1903.
Pope Saint Pius X courageously identified a poisonous way of thinking which had been plaguing the Church for some centuries and which continues to plague the Church in our time. 
Excerpts from “Fatima 100 Years Later: A Marian Call for the Whole Church”
The Buckfast Abbey Conference Centre
Buckfast, Devon, England
12 October 2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Fr. Romanus Cessario: Lumen Civitatis

I recommend this video for a Thomistic explanation on the Catholic faith and the Sacraments. The issue of communion for the divorced and remarried is also discussed. Thank God we still have good Thomistic theologians!